Kieryn: 7 years old


You are seven now! How do like it so far.

I don’t know. I guess it’s just the same.

What kinds of things do you like to do these days?


You’ve been reading a lot lately.  What kinds of books have you been reading?

Well, I have that Loraelei book Memere got me. She also gave me a little dog thing with popsicles, and I got a doll that’s kind of like an American Girl doll.

And she got you both matching outfits, right?

Yes, my doll and I have matching outfits.

What else have you been reading?

I’ve been reading a series called Sisters in Time, I think. It’s about different girls who live in different periods of time.

What else do you like to do other than read?

I like to cook, I guess.

You just helped me make your gigantic cinnamon roll birthday cake, didn’t you?

Mm hmm.  But it’s all gone now.

Yeah, that happens to cake…What are some of your favorite foods?

Ice cream! Wait dessert?

Any kinds of foods.

Maybe ice cream.  I guess popsicles. I guess Caesar salad. (If you haven’t noticed, Kieryn currently struggles with indecisiveness.)

Tell me some of the things you like to do with your siblings.

Well… I guess it depends on the time. I guess sometimes I play with the boys.  Sometimes we play legos.

What about the game you play for hours on the rug in the boys’ room?

Cars? Well, I guess it’s not really fun now.

Are you being serious?

I guess I just do.

Do like to play cars?

I mean, I just do play cars. (It seems I caught her at a bad time where everything seems a little less special and exciting than it usually is…)

Okay, so what do you like to do with Madeline?

Madeline doesn’t really play anymore, because she’s all grown up.  Kind of.  She’s about to be 12!

Tell me about some of the special time you’ve been spending with Eden.

I read her books and sometimes she goes to sleep for her nap, but sometimes she doesn’t.  Sometimes she’s too hard.

Who are your close friends right now?

Well, I told Zoey, “Let’s never leave each other.”  But it’s not really working.

What do you mean?

Well, Hadassah said that Zoey is a tomgirl.  Wait.  Is it a tomgirl or a tomboy?


She hangs out with boys a lot.

But sometimes she likes to play dolls with you, right?

Mm hmm.

Who else are your close friends?

Hadassah and Izzy.

Are you excited to meet our new baby boy soon?

Yes. He’s going to be my baby.  Madeline had Eden, and I’m going to have Zephan.

So, you’re going to be the first sibling to hold him, and you’re going to help me the most with him?

Yes! (She ended up being a huge helper with Zephaniah right away.  She was the first person to wash his hair, and she held him for hours that first day.  I slept on and off and she just sat in the bed next to me holding him, totally content with life.)

Kieryn is a highly sensitive girl.  She regularly confesses sin and is learning to fight the good fight of faith. We are so glad to have her as our own!


Anson: 10 years old

Anson bw crop ii wm

So, you’re 10 now.  Double digits!  And you’re officially off the growth chart! Tell me some of the things you enjoy doing.

Playing legos, cars, soccer, basketball.

You played soccer on a team for the first time this spring.  And you were good! Talk to me about your soccer season.

I dribbled through a bunch of players in my first game. In my second game, I scored my first goal. In my third game, I scored three goals, but one was off-sides. (Erich and I were definitely proud of how adept he was on the field.)

And then you ended up winning the juggling contest your team had. And you thought you would fail.

Yes, I thought I was going to fail.

But then I walked up after grabbing some groceries that we needed and saw you with a big box. You won a mini goal!

That was pretty exciting. I tied 3 to 3 with Jose.  So, we had to do a tie breaker.  That’s when Jose got 2 and I got 3.

I am excited to play again in the fall.

When I get older, I’d like to play basketball.  I’m too short right now, but once I get taller and I get better at dribbling, I’d like to play.

Tell me about other things you like to do.

I like to build with legos freehand.

You mean make up your own designs, right?

Yes, like the time I made that car with doors that lift up.  And I made a Lamborghini.

You’ve been into cars lately, huh?

Yes, I have.  The Bugatti Chiron is the fastest car ever. Well, the fastest production car, that is. The seventh fastest car is the Bentley Continental.  It hits 209 miles an hour! And Bentleys are supposed to be luxury cars!

So, how fast is the Chiron?

Zero to sixty or top speed?

Top speed, I guess.

261 miles an hour!

So, do you have a plan for the first car you’d like to drive in six years?

I do! Except dad would never let me drive this as my first car: an Acura NSX.

Why wouldn’t he let you drive that?

Because it goes 162 miles an hour.  But that’s as of 2004.  Imagine how fast they’d go now! I bet they could hit 200 miles an hour.

Yes, I guess Dad would have good reason to keep you away from that one at the start.

The real one I’d like to get, that Dad would let me get, is a Honda Civic.  Those cars probably only hit 140-150.  Not very fast for a car like that.

But fast enough to get into a whole lot of trouble still!

What do you expect me to get? One with a governor on it that will only go 90 miles an hour?!  Actually you could put a governor on it that only let it go 5 miles an hour.

I like this governor idea!

I hate it! I like the turbo charger! That’s amazing!  If you get a 12 cylinder it could make your car go 50 miles per hour faster, probably.

Okay, so let’s transition away from cars now.

Aww… (He could talk for daaays about cars.)

Tell me about school.

It’s been hard. Science is my favorite, by far! We’re starting to study swimming animals.  I don’t like to learn about bones of the body, like the scapula.  Bones, bones.  Stinkin’ bones.

What kinds of books have you been reading from the library?

Tell I Survive series, which tells how people survive things that really happened like the San Francisco earthquake or the Japanese tsunami.

Tell me about your new sleeping arrangements.

Memere and Grandmemere bought us a brand new bunk bed. There’s a twin on top and a full on the bottom.  I get the big bed!

So, we’re about ready to have our new baby, Zephaniah.  How do you feel about that?

I’m excited! I bet he’s going to come really early, because we’ve all been early.

And once he comes, we’ll be even – three girls, three boys.

Ha HA! (He’ shouts triumphantly.)  And we’ll actually win, because we also have Hank!

And with that, our interview concludes.  Anson has grown so much over this last year – in self-control, gentleness, joy.  He’s gone through some major spiritual growth.  We all have. We are very proud of the young man he is becoming.

Cast Iron

Great intro info:

More info on seasoning with flax oil here.

Eden’s Birth

In honor of my baby girl’s second birthday, which just passed, I am finally posting her lovely birth story.

Change in Plans

We were supposed to be going to Nashville to visit with our friends David and Vicky that Friday after our morning appointment with our midwife, Debi. But there was tons of snow and ice in their area that would have made getting to their house impossible.  Several people had expressed concern about us going over so close to the baby’s birth, but I was certain she would not be coming two weeks early.  That simply was not the way it had gone any of the four previous times.  Despite my assurance, they were all very relieved that the weather didn’t permit us to go.

Let the Messages Begin!

Our appointment with Debi was at 10 am.  I messaged all my sisters with the update:

Debi checked me just a bit ago and her immediate response was, “Ooooh!” She said I was VERY soft and 3.5 cm. She felt lots of hair. 🙂  She said she wouldn’t be surprised if we had the baby this week. BUT I’ve heard that before with all the other babies, so I’m not betting on it. Her point was that in the spectrum of “green” (cervix not ready) to “ripe” (cervix very ready), I’m at the ripe level. As soon as I get contractions that are regular, this baby will be here. She suggested more dancing this Shabbat and said, “Let’s have a baby!” 🙂

By 12:17, shortly after getting home after the appointment, I texted Debi with a screenshot of my contractions, which were about 2 minutes apart and lasting between 30 seconds and one minute. I said, “I don’t know if this is because of the digging today, but I wanted you keep you posted.  They are not stronger than usual.  Just coming frequently.  No more mucus yet.  I’m lying down to see if they’ll taper off.”

I updated the girls. “We may have an impromptu erev here tonight if this keeps up. I’ll keep you posted here.”

SEND SOMEONE FOR A HOSE,” Casey replied.  A new hose to fill the birthing tub that would be blown up in our master bedroom was the one main thing I hadn’t gotten yet, thinking there was still plenty of time. But my mom was already on it.  She grabbed one on her break that afternoon and was poised and ready to leave work at the next notice from me.

Lying down with Simeon did not stop the contractions. They were still rolling in every 2 minutes and lasting 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Though I had been lying down the whole hour, I hadn’t been able to sleep.

Debi canceled her 2 o’clock appointment and told me to get up and see what happened.

“Could this really be it even though I haven’t lost any mucus?”

“Oh yes it could be…Even without the mucus.”

We decided we’d check back in an hour.  But just a few minutes later, I checked myself and got nasty chunky bloody stuff on my finger.  I texted her a picture, because midwives are down with that kind of stuff.

“Mean anything?”

You’d think after doing this four other times, I’d be more sure of the process.  But it’s never the same.

“The cervix is opening,” was her reply.

I sat down at Erich’s desk and cried.  “I’m not ready.”

“Yes, you are,” he assured me.  He reminded me of our Abba’s perfect timing and prayed for us.  He was excited.  “Let’s do this!”

My sisters who were all in the midst of Shabbat prep, began wrapping things up in order to position themselves to be here when I gave the word.

An hour later, at 2:49pm, my body was still cranking out contractions every two minutes, and I began to feel it a little more in my back. Debi decided to head this way. Mom did too. Even though I was still not convinced this was really it, I really wanted all my sisters here. (Turns out that wanting my mom and all my sisters to be with me is a sure sign labor is underway.)

“Mom is almost home,” I told them. “Debi is on her way. I don’t know if this is it, but contractions haven’t spaced out at all, so anyone who wants to come and who won’t be upset if this is a false alarm is welcome to come.”

The Birth Party

That was all the invitation they needed.  The birth party was underway within that hour.

Kristina was in the kitchen cooking up a feast for the entire crew.

Mari was there, offering the perfect words of truth to encourage me at the perfect time.

Casey was making sure I stayed hydrated and took time to sort through the pile of girl clothes she had given me a while before, but which I still hadn’t gotten around to pulling out and organizing.  She also caught the early moments of birth on video for us.

Farrah, pregnant with her first baby, was crying almost continually and asking great questions at every turn.

Laurie was cheering me on and praying.

Alex, a new friend who is a nursing student with aspirations to become a midwife, was there too.

And, of course, Myrna. Somehow, my body has waited until her arrival to kick into high gear these last two births.

The house was buzzing with sweet activity.  I roamed around, having those stop-what-you’re-doing-and-wag-your-bottom contractions in the kitchen and in the living room.  Once the tub began to be prepared, I transitioned up to the room.

My dear friends hauled up pots of boiling water for the tub. (Yes, we actually did need boiling water for this birth. I always thought the boiling water thing was a joke, but it was no joke when our hot water tank decided it couldn’t get the birth tub filled up in time.)

As I waited for the tub, I had the shivers, my tell-tale sign of transition.  Debi checked me.  Bag of waters was bulging.  I was 6-7 cm, maybe even 8.  I had full permission to enter the never-disappointing hot water of the tub.

I encountered the familiar, but ever-exciting, sensations of the baby rapidly descending.  Knowing where I was in the process, and how quickly things would move from there, I sent word to the girls downstairs that whoever wanted to see the baby’s birth should come up quickly,  because this baby was coming soon.


The room filled with all my loved ones.  In just a few minutes, with a calm matter-of-factness, I informed Debi I would be pushing soon. Sure enough, that’s just how it went.  After just a few minutes of pushing, I announced, “Okay, there’s the head. All done.”

Debi checked. “It was just the water.”

“Not the head?” I said incredulously. Then I whined a bit as I entered my next contraction.

Despite my disappointment, it was only about three minutes more before she was born.

And she was perfect.

We sat in the water together recovering from the whirlwind of activity we had just gone through.  Then family introductions were made.  Madeline, on the verge of tears, came to see her new sister.  Kieryn, always full of empathy, felt badly that we were in a tub full of blood.  Anson and Simeon greeted their new baby sister with eagerness.


Happy Endings and New Beginnings

Though Eden Naomi was two weeks early according to my due date, she came right on time:

Friday evening, February 20, 2015, 6:55pm.
8 lbs 8 oz.

Sleepy Eden b&w.jpg

I couldn’t have planned it better if I had tried. My entire family was present. Erich and I were overwhelmed by the support.

Shortly after the birth I sent out Facebook thank-you’s. I ended with Debi:

You are an incredible midwife. I have loved every appointment and labor I’ve had with you. Maybe we’ll do this all again in a couple of years.

And here we are two years later, preparing to start appointments again for our next precious gift!

Hebrew Video Lessons

A / An Grammar Song

In teaching this concept to my present first-grader, I found this cute, helpful video:


Madeline: 10 years old

Pensive Madeline wm.jpg

Well, we’re just a tad behind with this one… 9 months to be exact… (That was at the time of doing the actual interview.  Tack on another five months to get it published…)

You could have had a baby in that time!

Yes, that’s how delayed this interview has been.  I could have grown and birthed a baby since you actually turned 10. (But she’s not 11 yet, so sitting in the Black Bear campground parking lot on a date, we are determined to capture her 10 ¾ year old self.)

So, tell me about 5th grade.

Well, it’s harder than 4th grade.

What kinds of interesting things are you learning?

Mostly in science.  Eyeballs, nose, nostrils.

What about history?

Ooh! That’s one of my favorites! Well, partly because I get to draw while you’re reading to us.  Also, though, I do enjoy hearing about all the … I guess you could say, strange … achievements.  Like how Alexandria got its name.  We’ve been talking about the Greeks.  They were very double-minded.  Very, very double minded.  They would say, “Hey! You’re our hero!”  And then when the hero did some teensy weensy thing they didn’t like, they would say, “We banish you!” And then two years later, when they’re in trouble they say, “Hey! Come rescue us!”  Double minded Greeks…

Hebrew is actually my favorite. Ani ohevet pizza.  (Translated: I like pizza.) Ani ohevet mischpacha v’morah.  (Translated: I love my family and teacher.)  Ani yalda.  (Translated: I am a girl.)  Ani lo kelev.  (I am  not a dog.)

What do you like to do when you’re not doing school?

Oh, all kinds of things!  Write, draw, play with siblings, eat.

(She neglected to mention reading.  This girl reads all the time.  She consumes books ridiculously quickly. Below are some moments Erich caught of Madeline reading at Mimi and Grandpa’s house.)



Let’s develop some of those things a bit.  Tell me more about your writing.

One thing every one of my stories has in common (except when I was littler) is all of them are very, very complicated.  This is a relative of this character, who is the mother of the daughter, who is the sister of this girl, who is actually adopted into the family…You get the picture.

And what types of stories do you write?

I write novels.  And series of books. Most of them are dramedies.  They are dramas with some comedy.

I wrote Luctom the Croc, which is basically a comedy. Luctom is this crocodile and he is the largest one in the zoo.  This was actually based on a trip to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm that we took.  We stayed in this fancy hotel and ate wonderful breakfast.  Man, that was fun.  Well, so… He’s this crocodile who is grumpy.  He doesn’t want to be bothered or messed with.  He was annoyed by everything and everyone. They put a girl crocodile in, and they mated.

Does he get happy after he has a wife?

Yep! The story doesn’t really have a point or teach anything.  It’s just supposed to be fun.

(bathroom break)

Tell me a bit about your drawings.

Well, I kinda go through phases with drawing. There was one point where I drew Esther. Esther. Esther.  You get the picture. One of the biggest sections in my drawing binder is the Esther section.

Now I am going through a Mary and Joseph and Yeshua phase.  Drawing all about that era.  Different scenes, like the wise men going to see Yeshua when he was a baby.  I put the scenes in order, from when Mary was pregnant and she went to see Elizabeth, and John jumped in her tummy. Then Joseph and Mary were traveling to Bethlehem.  And then Yeshua was born and the wise men came to see him.  There are more.

Tell me what you like to play with your siblings.

Well, we play cars with/without eyes.  We have a big rug with a road outside on the carport.  And we take our cars and drive them along the road and play with them.  Some of the cars have eyes, like the ones from the movie Cars.  There are also Hotwheels and toy Corvettes, which don’t have eyes. (Hence the name.)

And we also like to play pitch ball.  It’s a game we made up earlier today where someone sits in our little purple baby seat and there’s a blue ball… And there has to be at least three players.  So, that’s at least Kieryn, Anson, and I… Earlier this morning, there was Simeon too, which made it even more fun.  So, for example, Kieryn had the blue ball and Anson was sitting in the purple seat.  I stood by as a witness.  Kieryn gently tossed the ball when Anson wasn’t ready.  Or tried to at least.

So the point was to try to throw it when the other person wasn’t ready?

Yes. Anson tried to block the ball from hitting him, using his hands.  If Anson blocked the ball, Kieryn struck one.  If Kieryn hit Anson, then Anson struck one.  Three strikes and you’re out.  The person standing by takes the place of the one who struck out.  That’s really fun!


Tell me about your relationship with your siblings.

Anson and I are about the same age (2 years difference), so that makes us closer than the other siblings, in that sense.  So, he and I can relate in a lot of things.

Bible time b&w water

Like you do some school together.

Yes, like Hebrew.

And Kieryn and I are so close that Kieryn let me share the top bunk with her, and we sleep there together almost all the time.


Simeon and I are just about the youngest and the oldest. Except for Eden… So, we do some things together.  Sometimes Kieryn and Anson will be doing something with dad and Simeon and I will go jump on the trampoline by ourselves.

Once he helped you make up a really yummy cookie recipe, right?

Yes! That’s one of my favorites!  He likes to help me cook.  He’s one of the first siblings who comes up and says, “Can I help, Madeline?”  It’s rare that something would get in the way of him helping me.  It’s fun.

Also my relationship with Eden is great, even though she’s little and I’m bigger.  After mommy, she chooses me (most of the time). She and I do fun stuff too!  Like, we go and jump lightly on the trampoline together.  She loves that.  And I’ll walk up to Hank, and she’ll smile and squeal and reach out her hand.  I’ll show her how to pet gently.  We say, “geeeentle” in a soft voice.  (Sighs)  Good times.


What else?

Well, you said you also like to eat.  So, tell me about the foods you like to eat or cook.

I love this subject! I like to cook.  Some of my favorite recipes are posted on my blog.

As far as eating goes, I enjoy eating quesadillas with beans inside and sour cream, guacamole, and salsa on top.  Yum!  I also like macaroni and cheese with broccoli.  And grilled chicken on salad.  Mmmm… I could name a million more things if they would come to mind…

What about desserts?

Yes! White bean cupcakes with whipped cream and strawberries!  Or black bean cupcakes with Memere’s frosting.  And I looooove Navajo Fry Bread.  And macademia nut clusters.  And banana split cake.

What kind of spiritual things are you learning lately?

Daddy’s been teaching us about watching our words and putting on the armor of God – the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the belt of truth, the sword of the word, the shoes of readiness… Is that it?  Oh! The helmet of … I just looked at it this morning… The helmet of …

Want a hint?

Yes! What letter does it start with?

S… Want another hint?

No! … It’s not Satan.

True! We don’t put the helmet of Satan on!

It’s not slimy either.  Or sandwich.

Correct! Ready for another hint?  I can tell you the Hebrew version of the word.





And with that, it’s time for us to head over to get some ice cream before we go back to the house.  This girl is a joy to watch grow up.  She is a delight to us.  A magnificent gift.